It's fascinating sitting in the 'real world' and observing the announcements flood the news this morning. First Sun with new servers, then eBay buys Skype and then Oracle takes Seibel...
Only one of these intersects me in my current life and that is Skype. I've come to depend on it for hours of communications each week too and from New Zealand. I spend more time on it than my mobile. I'm also a keen eBay user. And I am totally stumped as to what possible value eBay can derive other than a full frontal assault on the VOIP world. Which they are now brilliantly positioned to do.
The rest of it I can't figure out... I don't want to chat to anyone I am bidding with and I definitely don't want to talk to anyone I am selling to... The whole point is that this is just a really simple way to sell. And I definitely don't like PayPal... It ain't my Pal... I just want to use my Visa card.
But Ross has a point in that it might be in eBay's DNA not to constrain communication... and that VOIP will become the dominate way we seek to communicate in the future via our computers... and so, it makes sense from that POV.
And, they also have been moving to create a significant developer community which I am sure Skype will plug into.
Om has a good point in that bringing VOIP to eBay could be useful in countering fraud.
The eBay Skype announcement really lacked any compelling customer-centric messaging - and this is the fastest way to convince investors of the move. Now, having been wrapped-up in hundreds of acquisition announcements I know how hard it is to get this done... But, Oracle took a good shot at it in speaking to the ability to reduce complexity and provide a single integration and management point. And they spoke to a customer - GE - as a driver.
From my point of view however, the part of this deal that should ignite the best water cooler discussions is it's size. Imagine this: Oracle buys Siebel for $5.8 billion. Siebel has been around for long time. The company is public, has a huge installed base, and lots of customers and employees. Meanwhile, after only three years in existence, Skype gets swept up by eBay for $2.6 billion. How amazing is it that the young, tiny Skype is worth nearly half of what Siebel is?